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Kurt Wimmer is the First Lawyer to Receive the Sprague Award, the U.S. National Press Photographer's Highest Honor

July 1, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. and LONDON, U.K., July 1, 2002 - The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) announced today that it has awarded its highest honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, to Kurt Wimmer, a partner with the international law firm Covington & Burling, for his work relating to the First Amendment and freedom of the press. The Sprague Award is given each year to a working photojournalist and to a non-photographer for unusual service or achievement beneficial to photojournalism. The working photojournalist who has won this year's award is William Albert Allard of National Geographic magazine.

Kurt Wimmer, who is managing partner of Covington's London office, says "I am bowled over at winning this award. I joined the National Press Photographers Association at 20, and I've been inspired by the work of many former winners over the years. It is also a terrific compliment to be in the company of Bill Allard. I would not have won this without the unstinting assistance of my colleagues at Covington and my firm's commitment to encouraging its lawyers to do public service work. We are all thrilled about it."

David Handschuh, Chair of the Honors and Recognition Committee, said "I am professionally and personally delighted that Kurt has won this award. He is quite deserving. The NPPA has worked with Kurt and his colleagues at Covington & Burling for many years. They have managed, sometimes against the odds, to ensure our rights to photograph events that the world needs to see.  It's for that reason we wish to recognize Kurt with our highest honor."


Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award

Established in 1949, this is the highest honor in the field of photojournalism. It is given by NPPA ( to a working photojournalist, who advances, elevates or attains unusual recognition for the profession of photojournalism by conduct, initiative, leadership, skill and devotion to duty. Every year it is also awarded to a non-photographer for unusual service or achievement beneficial to photojournalism, or for an outstanding technological advance in equipment or process of photojournalism.

Kurt Wimmer

Kurt Wimmer is the managing partner of international law firm Covington & Burling's London office, concentrating in media, information technology, telecommunications and intellectual property law. He is co-chair of the International Media Law Committee of the Libel Defense Resource Center and a member of the First Amendment Advisory Council of the Media Institute. His clients have included the Business Software Alliance, Microsoft Corporation, The Washington Post Company, National Geographic, Sprint PCS and the Ministries of Communications of Israel and Sweden. He has defended media companies, associations and individuals in libel cases and has advocated the release of jailed journalists and the opening of closed courts on behalf of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the National Press Photographers Association and other media organizations. He also has advised journalists, associations and legislators in Serbia, Russia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Croatia and other Eastern European countries concerning new media laws, libel, protection of journalists and freedom of information.

Covington & Burling

Covington & Burling was founded in 1919 and has more than 500 lawyers in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, London and Brussels. The firm's main practice areas include corporate, intellectual property, antitrust, regulatory, tax, international trade and employment law as well as litigation and arbitration. The firm has sector specific expertise in technology, software, communications and life sciences industries. The firm's broad corporate practice consists of mergers and acquisitions, securities, finance, licensing and strategic alliances, and bankruptcy. In handling transactional and advisory matters, Covington's corporate and tax lawyers draw on the firm's expertise in its focus sectors.

Covington advises 100 of Fortune's top 250 companies and is principal counsel for leading companies such as ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and private equity firms including Charlesbank, Capital Partners, Softbank and SG Capital Partners. Covington has consistently been among the top firms in the world in pro bono public service representation.

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